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Congress MP, BJP Clash Over Remarks About Former Pakistan President Musharraf

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian Parliament House is seen early morning in New Delhi, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
Indian Parliament House is seen early morning in New Delhi, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 - Sputnik India, 1920, 06.02.2023
Former Pakistan President and Chief of Army Staff Pervez Musharraf, widely known for masterminding the 'Kargil War' against India, died at a Dubai hospital on Sunday.
A day after the death of former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, politicians from India's opposition and ruling parties appeared to get entangled in an unusual spat about how best to "remember" the man who waged a war against India before becoming an advocate of "peace".
On Monday, the war of words between India's federally ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor erupted over Tharoor's remarks about Musharraf.
The controversy began after the Congress MP took to Twitter to pay his respects to Musharraf, saying: "'Pervez Musharraf, Former Pakistani President, Dies of Rare Disease': once an implacable foe of India, he became a real force for peace 2002-2007."
Tharoor, who served as India's junior foreign minister from 2004 to 2014 went on to add: "I met him annually in those days at the UN and found him smart, engaging and clear in his strategic thinking. RIP."

Is Tharoor 'Worshiping' Pakistan?

However, his tweet infuriated the BJP which accused Congress of "worshipping" Pakistan, with which India has fought four wars in the past.

"Nothing like a proper military thrashing for Fatcat Pak Dictator Generals to become a 'force for peace' and develop 'clear strategic thinking'. Notwithstanding the many lives lost, international laws violated, and harm caused all around, these Generals will have their admiring fans in India," federal minister and BJP politician Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in a furious reaction to Tharoor's tweet.

Joining Chandrasekhar in his criticism of Tharoor was BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla who said he wasn't "surprised" by Congress' love for Pakistan.
"Pervez Musharraf, architect of Kargil, dictator, accused of heinous crimes who considered Taliban & Osama as 'brothers' & 'heroes' who refused to even take back bodies of his own dead soldiers, is being hailed by Congress! Are you surprised? Again, Congress ki pak parasti!" Poonawalla posted.
A statue of Mahatma Gandhi overlooks the Indian parliament building (File) - Sputnik India, 1920, 25.01.2023
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The row turned uglier on Monday morning when Tharoor hit back at the BJP for rebuking him because of his comments about Musharraf.
"Question to BJP leaders frothing at the mouth: if Musharraf was anathema to all patriotic Indians, why did the BJP Government negotiate a ceasefire with him in 2003 and sign the joint Vajpayee-Musharraf statement of 2004? Was he not seen as a credible peace partner then?" Tharoor demanded.
But the BJP was having none of it, with federal Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia joining the fray as he took up the cudgels against Tharoor.

"An Indian 'national' party's leader first casts doubts on our soldiers' act of bravery in Pulwama. Then another one eulogizes Pervez Musharraf who was responsible for the Kargil war. 'Join hand-to-hand' campaign with enemies!?" Scindia asked.

Musharraf died of multiple organ failure at the American Hospital in Dubai after a prolonged battle with a rare disease called amyloidosis, which affects tissues and organs in the body.

Kargil War of 1999

The Kargil war was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that lasted from 3 May to 26 July 1999 along the Line of Control (LoC), which separates the two countries in the Jammu and Kashmir region.
India accused Musharraf - at the time head of the Pakistan Army - of sending troops in the form of intruders to occupy the mountain heights in Kargil and Drass.
In the ensuing war, Pakistani soldiers, whose presence was denied by Musharraf, were overpowered by the Indian troops in the mountains of Kargil.